― Jack Kerouac
I want the smell of skin, hands in my hair, my head on the pillow. I want the twisting, pulling of it.
Last weekend I went to a museum with a boy and we had that conversation. We talked about that particular person who can make you stay in one room for five days straight – who makes you fail all of your classes.
I came home from my semester in England with a string of F’s that I managed to swap for withdrawals. He was the Yoko to my Lennon. He loved me, I loved him, and together – we destroyed the Beatles. Five years later, after putting a ring on my finger, he also effectively destroyed my life as I knew it.
The boy at the museum said, “It sounds so … “young.” And it is young. Can desire exist in a contained space without sucking out all the air? I’d like to think I can choose to not let the world waste away but still hate to leave you to go to work in the morning. I’d like to think I could call in sick when I’m not sick, just once. I’d like to think that despite the foresight to know better, the lip biting, heart aching taste of it is just on the tip of my tongue. Just a whisper out of reach.
Sure, you can be older and wiser. But what about younger, braver, bursting at the seams. Kerouac, of course, reminds us that this supposed greatness is little more than burning the candle at both ends. Even the man we espouse as this icon of youthful wandering eventually gave up life on the road to become a celebrated author who lived in one stationary place. The “roman candles” he wrote about fucked off to be nobody in particular.
I am not quite twenty eight years old. And besides, it almost killed me once already. I should have grown out of this by now.
But do we really grow out of it? Or do we teach ourselves to be satisfied with the comfortable instead of the kinetic. The timid instead of the tantalizing.
I am a bundle of nerve endings. All lips and tongue and fingertips. I am alone in the vastness of all the not knowing, waiting in the darkness for something to spark.